LIFE DIGEST: Surrogate mother refuses $10,000 for abortion

By Tom Strode
Mar 6, 2013

A surrogate mother refused to abort the baby she was carrying despite a $10,000 offer from the girl’s parents, according to CNN.

Crystal Kelley, a single mother who lived in a suburb of Hartford, Conn., agreed to have a baby for a couple who wanted a fourth child but could no longer have one. She desired to help someone with fertility problems, but she also needed the $22,000 payment, CNN reported March 5.

Also in this edition: Arkansas governor vetoes another abortion ban, 40 Days reports 275 babies spared so far, Murder trial of abortion doctor begins in Philadelphia, Belgium legislature considers euthanasia for minors, and Former congressman renews suit against pro-life organization.

Kelley became pregnant with a girl after two frozen embryos conceived by in vitro fertilization were transferred to her uterus in October 2011. Her pregnancy and her relationship with the parents went well until an ultrasound in February 2012, when she was 21 weeks pregnant, showed the child had a cleft lip and palate, a brain cyst and a complicated heart condition that would require several surgeries after birth. The baby’s opportunity for a “normal life” was only about 25 percent, the doctors said.

The parents, who were not identified by CNN, wanted Kelley to have an abortion, but she refused. The couple met with Kelley and sought to persuade her to change her mind.

“I told them that they had chosen me to carry and protect this child, and that was exactly what I was going to do,” Kelley told CNN. “I told them it wasn’t their decision to play God.”

After the couple offered her $10,000 to have an abortion, Kelley’s long-time opposition to abortion almost collapsed. She had lost her job as a nanny shortly before becoming a surrogate and could have used the money. After wavering, she rejected the offer, however.

After Kelley declined, the couple informed her they – as the legal parents in Connecticut — would take their daughter after her birth and give custody of her to the state. Kelley didn’t want the baby in foster care, so her daughters and she moved in April to Michigan, a state where she would be the legal mother because it does not recognize surrogacy agreements.

Kelley asked a couple with special needs children to adopt the baby girl, and they agreed. Baby S., as the little girl has come to be known, was born in June with even more health complications than expected. At eight months of age, she has undergone open-heart surgery and faces other operations.

The couple who wanted Kelley to abort reached an agreement that enables them to be in contact with the adoptive parents and visit Baby S.

Kelley told CNN she believes she made the right choice.

“No one else was feeling this pregnancy the way that I was. No one else could feel her kicking and moving around inside,” she said. “I knew from the beginning that this little girl had an amazing fighting spirit, and whatever challenges were thrown at her, she would go at them with every ounce of spirit that she could possibly have.

“No matter what anybody told me, I became her mother.”

Arkansas governor vetoes another abortion ban

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe has vetoed another abortion ban, and it appears the state legislature may again override his action.

Beebe vetoed legislation March 4 that would ban abortions of unborn babies whose heartbeat has been detected by ultrasound at 12 weeks or later. The Senate, however, voted 20-14 March 5 to override his veto, according to Reuters News Service. The House of Representatives still must approve an override for the bill to become law.

If passed, the bill – known as the Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act – reportedly would become the strongest abortion restriction in the country.

“My expectation is for the House to override it, and I truly hope they do so,” said Sen. Jason Rapert, the bill’s sponsor and a Republican, Reuters reported.

On Feb. 26, the Democratic governor vetoed a prohibition on abortion at 20 weeks after conception based on evidence a baby in the womb experiences pain by that point. The Senate and House of Representatives overrode Beebe’s veto, and the legislation became law.

Regarding the heartbeat ban, Beebe said he used his veto power because the bill “blatantly contradicts the United States Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court.” He also said a legal challenge would be costly to taxpayers. The ACLU of Arkansas is expected to bring a lawsuit.

The heartbeat ban has exceptions for rape, incest, a threat to the life of the mother, a serious risk of a major impairment of the mother’s health and a “highly lethal fetal disorder.”

40 Days reports 275 babies spared so far

The latest 40 Days for Life campaign has reported 275 unborn children spared from abortion just past its mid-way point.

The 40 Days website provided that total March 6 on the 22nd day of its spring effort, which began Feb. 13 and will conclude March 24. Each semi-annual campaign focuses on peaceful, pro-life prayer vigils outside abortion clinics. Volunteers in the latest effort are participating at 261 locations in the United States, Canada, Australia, England, Poland, Spain and, for the first time, Russia, Nigeria, South Africa and Wales.

Recent reports to the 40 Days staff have included:

  • Vigil participants at a Glendale, Ariz., site witnessed 10 “turnarounds” – women changing their minds – in a week at a Planned Parenthood clinic.
  • Volunteers at a Columbus, Ga., vigil reported three unborn babies were spared in the same day – the first time that has happened at that location.
  • A Eugene, Ore., abortion clinic, which has been the site of eight 40 Days vigils, closed. The 40 Days volunteers planned to move their vigil to a Planned Parenthood clinic to which the now-closed Bours Health Center is referring clients.

Murder trial of abortion doctor begins in Philadelphia

The murder trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell began March 4 in Philadelphia, Pa.

Juror selection opened the trial, which is to decide the fate of Gosnell, 72, who has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of viable children who were killed after delivery and a count of third-degree murder in the death of a Virginia woman who died during a 2009 abortion. The trial is expected to take six to eight weeks, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The babies were only some of hundreds at least six months into gestation who were killed outside the womb after induced delivery at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society clinic in West Philadelphia, a grand jury reported in 2011. After delivery, Gosnell — or another staff member in his absence — would jab scissors into the back of a baby’s neck and cut the spinal cord, according to the grand jury. Gosnell called the killing of these children “snipping.”

He destroyed most of the files, limiting prosecution to only seven cases, the grand jury reported.

Gosnell could receive a death sentence if he is found guilty of first-degree murder, according to The Inquirer.

A February 2010 raid of the clinic found deplorable conditions, which resulted in its closing and Gosnell’s medical license being suspended.

Belgium legislature considers euthanasia for minors

Belgian lawmakers are considering whether to expand legalized euthanasia to include children 18 years of age or younger.

Euthanasia already is being practiced on minors, an expert told legislators, according to Agence France-Presse, which based its Feb. 20 article on reporting by the Belga news agency.

“We all know it,” and physicians “need a legal framework,” said Dominique Biarent, who oversees the intensive care unit at Queen Fabiola Children’s University Hospital in Brussels.

Pro-life blogger Wesley Smith criticized Biarent’s call for legal guidelines.

“Euthanasia guidelines are worse than meaningless, they are pretense,” Smith wrote on his blog. “They exist to give the illusion of control. But once people come [to] fully accept the premise of euthanasia – killing as a remedy for suffering – it’s Katy bar the door.”

Belgium became the second country to legalize euthanasia in 2002. The Netherlands preceded it.

Former congressman renews suit against pro-life organization

Former U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus has appealed the dismissal of his defamation lawsuit against the pro-life Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List.

Driehaus made his appeal Feb. 21 to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio, less than a month after federal judge Timothy Black threw out his suit.

In 2010 election campaign ads in Driehaus’ Ohio district, SBA List said the Democrat congressman voted for taxpayer-funded abortion in supporting the health-care legislation enacted earlier that year. Driehaus denied the measure, widely known as Obamacare, funded abortions and sued the organization for defamation.

The SBA List and the country’s other major pro-life organizations sharply disagreed with Driehaus, contending the new law authorized federal funding of abortion and/or federal subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion. The National Right to Life Committee and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops undergirded their positions in detailed documents.

“It is frustrating to see this ex-Congressman once again using the court system to drain valuable resources and staff time, especially knowing that he should never have started this legal battle in the first place,” SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said of Driehaus’ appeal.

Driehaus, who described himself as pro-life, lost the 2010 election to Republican Steve Chabot, whom the Democrat had defeated in 2008.

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission works to protect the sanctity of human life. If you would like to learn more about this issue, additional resources are available here. Our free, downloadable Impact resource is also available online. If your church is interested in purchasing materials on the sanctity of human life, please visit our online bookstore and

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